Kenny McLean's first St Mirren goal gave the Buddies victory over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
Both goalkeepers had busy afternoons with the Perth side's Peter Enckelman twice denying McLean.
At the other end, Craig Samson frustrated striker Cillian Sheridan with blocks.
But, just as the match looked to be heading for a goalless draw, McLean latched on to Steven Thompson's header and found the net with his right foot.
With St Johnstone still without a new permanent manager, Alec Cleland led the first team from the sidelines as speculation grows about Steve Lomas being installed as Derek McInnes's replacement.
Dave MacKay's free kick was smothered by Samson and Kevin Moon blasted over the St Mirren crossbar as the game began to open up after a quiet opening.
Graham Carey flashed a free kick across the face of Enckelman's goal and McLean then tested the St Johnstone stopper.
Sheridan's effort bobbled awkwardly on the turf but Samson gathered and McLean threatened again with an effort that Enckelman pushed over at the start of the second half.
Francisco Sandaza fired inches wide of the St Mirren goal and Samson then blocked from Sheridan following a Liam Craig corner.
Sandaza headed wide as the pressure on the visiting goal continued.
But it was the Paisley Saints who found the breakthrough as a route one ball was nodded on by Thompson for McLean to rifle past Enckelman.
And St Johnstone could not find a leveller in the closing nine minutes.
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +1:56 Booking
Booking Alan Maybury is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.90:00 +1:44
Alan Maybury concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul McGowan. Free kick taken by Jim Goodwin.87:44
Nigel Hasselbaink takes a shot. Blocked by Alan Maybury.84:10 Substitution
Substitution Liam Craig goes off and Marcus Haber comes on.83:42 Substitution
Substitution (St Mirren) makes a substitution, with Illias Haddad coming on for Steven Thompson.80:43
Steven Thompson provided the assist for the goal.80:43 Goal scored
Goal! - Kenny McLean - St J'stone 0 - 1 St Mirren Goal scored by Kenny McLean from inside the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. St Johnstone 0-1 St Mirren.76:48
Murray Davidson fouled by Jeroen Tesselaar, the ref awards a free kick. The ball is swung over by Liam Craig, Francisco Sandaza has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.75:37
Free kick taken by Peter Enckelman.75:37 Booking
Booking The referee shows Nigel Hasselbaink a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.75:34
Steven Anderson fouled by Nigel Hasselbaink, the ref awards a free kick.74:47
Francisco Sandaza takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.73:41
Foul by Alan Maybury on Graham Carey, free kick awarded. Lee Mair takes the indirect free kick.72:42 Substitution
Substitution Nigel Hasselbaink joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jon McShane.72:08
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Liam Craig, save by Craig Samson.70:59 Substitution
Substitution Murray Davidson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Kevin Moon.70:14
Cillian Sheridan takes a shot. Save by Craig Samson.68:14
The official flags Cillian Sheridan offside. Direct free kick taken by Craig Samson.67:38
Corner taken left-footed by Liam Craig from the left by-line, clearance made by Steven Thompson.
Graham Carey takes a outswinging corner.65:54
Inswinging corner taken by Liam Craig from the left by-line, save made by Craig Samson.65:05
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Liam Craig, Cillian Sheridan takes a shot. Save by Craig Samson.64:08
Headed from the edge of the area by Jon McShane goes wide of the left-hand post.62:43
Liam Craig produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area and misses left.61:39
Kenny McLean takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand post.60:19
Effort from the edge of the penalty box by Graham Carey goes wide of the right-hand upright.59:12
Corner taken left-footed by Liam Craig from the left by-line, Steven Thompson makes a clearance.57:44
Graham Carey takes the outswinging corner, Steven Anderson makes a clearance.57:11
Shot on goal by Paul McGowan from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.55:48
Jeroen Tesselaar fouled by Liam Craig, the ref awards a free kick. Graham Carey produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick, Alan Maybury manages to make a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey.53:48
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey, Peter Enckelman makes a save.50:12
Francisco Sandaza has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the goal.48:09
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey, Steven Anderson makes a clearance.47:34
Kenny McLean takes a shot. Peter Enckelman makes a save.46:19
David MacKay gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jon McShane. Shot on goal comes in from Jon McShane from the free kick.45:03 Substitution
Substitution Frazer Wright leaves the field to be replaced by Alan Maybury.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +0:27 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.43:15
Corner taken by Graham Carey from the left by-line, clearance made by Peter Enckelman.42:38
Jim Goodwin takes a shot. Save made by Peter Enckelman.39:56
Paul McGowan handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Callum Davidson takes the free kick.39:12
Corner taken by Graham Carey.37:20
Lee Mair challenges Francisco Sandaza unfairly and gives away a free kick. David MacKay restarts play with the free kick. Cillian Sheridan takes a shot. Craig Samson makes a save.34:24
Steven Anderson concedes a free kick for a foul on Jon McShane. Jeroen Tesselaar takes the indirect free kick.32:35
The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Craig Samson.28:32
Kenny McLean takes a shot. Peter Enckelman makes a save.27:50
Corner taken right-footed by Liam Craig to the near post, save by Craig Samson.26:57
Shot from close range by Francisco Sandaza misses to the right of the target.24:49
Frazer Wright concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul McGowan. Jim Goodwin restarts play with the free kick.23:52
Paul McGowan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Liam Craig. Peter Enckelman takes the indirect free kick.21:03
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kevin Moon on Jon McShane. Graham Carey produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.19:09
Kevin Moon takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.15:43
Graham Carey takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Liam Craig.11:01
Frazer Wright challenges Steven Thompson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shot comes in from Graham Carey from the free kick.10:06
Handball decision goes against Francisco Sandaza. Free kick taken by Jim Goodwin.7:10
Jody Morris fouled by Jon McShane, the ref awards a free kick. Peter Enckelman restarts play with the free kick.6:27
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Graham Carey by Francisco Sandaza. Indirect free kick taken by Graham Carey.5:19
Unfair challenge on Paul McGowan by Callum Davidson results in a free kick. Graham Carey takes the indirect free kick.0:45
Corner taken by Graham Carey from the right by-line, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Anderson by Lee Mair. Peter Enckelman restarts play with the free kick.0:36
The ball is delivered by Steven Thompson.0:00
The referee gets the game started.
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